This cover image released by Grand Central Publishing shows “I’d Like to Play Alone, Please” by Tom Segura. (Grand Central Publishing via Associated Press)
Tom Segura is an Adlord. He’s constantly on the verge of going too far while lined up for the lulz. It’s effective, but it keeps the casual fan of his comedy at arm’s length.
That is, until he wrote a series of autobiographical essays titled “I’d Like to Play Alone, Please” and gave the book world a window into his heart.
A complete troll from the start, Segura addresses readers directly and engages with his audience as if he were performing a set on stage. Open, funny and insightful like a Marc Maron interview if it was just a comedian talking to himself.
Insights like “use what you have” and “don’t try to get into mischief with armed bodyguards” are just a sampling of the life lessons Segura has taken the opportunity to impart to the written world.
“I want to play alone, please” is a stereotypically masculine tour de force with farts, football and a third thing beginning with “F” that is not fit to print, sometimes completely disarming, is interrupted by heartfelt feelings. After this he tells more jokes.
Between reflections on his life and self-conscious toxic masculinity is a smattering of famous people Segura has met, each including a selfie before you can think, “picture or it didn’t happen.”
Some chapters won’t be new for fans of Segura’s standup—he writes the story of his accidental overdose almost like he tells it on stage. And if you want to revisit Segura’s highlights like her infamous dunking injury or the time she met Mike Tyson, they’re right there too.
But Segura also offers a glimpse into his life, recounting how a kid spends wild summers in Peru and creates award-winning bad science projects, becomes a podcaster and touring comedian with four Netflix specials. His essays trace his childhood, the time when he was bombed and which son is his favorite and why, telling each story in a quirky, naturally segura way in well-thought-out prose.
The book is funny, surprising and even sweet at times. Some of the most aggressive sections result in the best punchlines, though it’s up to the reader whether that’s worth it. Hardcore Segura fans will be at home, while others caught unawares will demand a refund. Segura is polarizing like this. Don’t worry, though—mostly it just digs in on its friend and fellow comedian Burt Crusher.